Subject Line (article title)
Send to (required)E-mail
Send from (required)E-mail
Many great players have graced the Maine West girls basketball program which has been directed by Hall of Fame coach Derril Kipp for the past 34 years.
But in her four seasons as a Warrior, Brittany Collins has managed to separate herself from them all.
On Tuesday night in Des Plaines, she became the first boy or girl in school history to score 2,000 points.
The 6-foot senior forward received a short entry pass from her longtime post partner Julia Huinker and took the ball in for an easy layup with 7:14 in the first quarter, giving her 2,001 points.
It also gave West a 2-2 tie, and the No. 4-seeded Warriors would never trail again in a 53-36 triumph over No. 13 Lane Tech in the semifinals of the Class 4A Maine West regional.
The Warriors (16-11) advance to Thursday’s championship against No. 5 Maine South (18-12), which defeated No. 12 Taft 72-44 in the second semifinal.
Collins will take 2,022 points into Thursday’s game, including a single-season school record of 529 points. She also broke that record (formerly 516 by Megan Edwards) on Tuesday night.
“We’ve had so many good players here, so this is a tribute to Brittany and her work ethic,” Kipp said. “She started from her very first game as a freshman getting rebounds and scoring points.”
Collins also has the school record for rebounds with more than 1,300. She had 13 against Lane Tech.
“And she is very coachable, which is a big asset,” Kipp added. “Our teams haven’t been as good as in the past, but offensively she ranks right up there with all people who have scored the most points. Her offense is about as good as anyone we’ve had. She fit right in with all the best ones.”
She has also been a perfect fit with Huinker.
The two have played together since the fourth grade at Our Lady of Destiny in Des Plaines, so it was quite fitting that Huinker earned the assist on Collins’ historic basket.
“We both loved playing the game” said Huinker (9 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists), who as usual sang the national anthem. “We’ve gone to camps together and everything.
“It makes it easier knowing what kind of player she is. For the most part, I know what kind of passes she likes and where to put it for her. And she is free to communicate to me, where she’d like the ball throw to her.”
“Julia is a really good passer,” said Collins, who will play at St. Xavier (Chicago) while the 6-3 Huinker will compete for St. Francis (Joliet). “She has gotten me a lot of assists over the years.”
West led 11-2 after one quarter with Collins scoring 8 points and Huinker the other three.
Lane Tech never got closer than 11 points after Huinker’s 2 free throws made it 17-5 midway through the second quarter.
“I thought we did a good job on her (Collins) but she is good player and she kept fighting hard for her points,” said Indians coach Corrine Ulmer. “Obviously, she knows what she is doing. Our girls never give up. That’s the one thing I’ll say. Their heart is something to be envious of.”
Lane Tech (14-15) closed to within 27-15 late in the third quarter.
But sophomore Moncia Liwag hit three straight 3-pointers to start the final quarter as West pulled way 50-28.
Liwag finished with 9 points and 2 assists while teammate Kayla Pociejewski had 7 points, and 4 rebounds. Abbey Herling grabbed 4 rebounds and Erin Ross had a pair of steals.
Kipp removed Collins from the game with 4:06 left and the Maine West fans once again lifted their small poster cards that read ‘2000.’
“It feels amazing,” Collins said of her remarkable accomplishment. “It hasn’t sunk in. With our team playing well and winning, there’s been so much excitement. It’s kind of overwhelming.”
Collins was surrounded from family and friends after the game, including her grandmother Bridget.
“I love playing basketball and all the close friendships I’ve made through it,” said Collins, who has worn jersey No. 30 since fourth grade. “Hopefully my brothers (Jack and Sean) will be able to wear it here, too.”
One thing for sure, Brittany has worn it with class.
Not bad for a girl whose father Paul wasn’t even sure she would start as a freshman even though he figured she’d eventually make a big impact.
“I never thought I’d do this,” Collins said. “I didn’t even think I’d be on the varsity as a freshman.”
Now, No. 30 is a varsity legend.